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From futuristic to dark age heating.

 
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After a couple days lighting, and being warmed by, rocket mass heaters at Wheaton Labs, it feels like I am back in the Dark Age heating with my old stove.

I shall be spending the winter studying the Rocket Mass Heater Builders Guide and planning my own build, along with splitting a lot of wood.

Dark-Age-heating.jpeg
Dark Age heating
Dark Age heating
 
pollinator
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As an interim measure might I suggest looking online for a used epa rated stove. by the looks of it your existing stove has no control of its input air and no secondary burn capability. You will cut down the wood you consume by 25 to 50 percent without changing anything else. I like something like this one  https://forsale.oodle.com/detail/jotul-wood-burner/5112172834-north-prairie-wi/      Jotuls are great stoves
Cheers,  David
 
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I second what David said.

That stove is what is known as a Boxwood Stove, and they are pretty cheap. It looks like it was made by the US Stove Company which is a misnomer, it is actually a Chinese knock-off with a US sounding name. Another name by the same company is Vogelzang. They are notorious  for not only cracking their cast iron, but have a fit that you could literally toss a cat through. That means you cannot shut them down as they leak so much air.

There is hope. I had a US Stove Pot bellied stove and sealed it up with fiberglass rope and stove cement. That helped a lot, and if money is tight I would do that. Air tight is air tight no matter if you do it like I did, or just buy a better stove. For price comparison, I think I spent about $50 in material to make mine air tight.
 
Travis Halverson
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This being the fifth winter I’ve used this stove, perhaps I should be concerned if they actually do crack. Do you see a lower priced one from northern tool that may be decent? We were at 400 square feet but soon to be about 740 sf after I finish an addition.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/category_heaters-stoves-fireplaces+wood-stoves

I may be able to get a small discount at northern tool.
 
David Baillie
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Travis Halverson wrote:This being the fifth winter I’ve used this stove, perhaps I should be concerned if they actually do crack. Do you see a lower priced one from northern tool that may be decent? We were at 400 square feet but soon to be about 740 sf after I finish an addition.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/category_heaters-stoves-fireplaces+wood-stoves

I may be able to get a small discount at northern tool.



As a bare bone unit this one:   https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200665055_200665055

If its epa rated it has secondary air...  Look around back there should be a small air port and look inside up top there should be either tubes with holes or a flat plate box with holes for secondary air pre heating... I like the baffles better then the catalytic type as they are more forgiving of less then perfect wood. They loose some efficiency though over catalytic...
 
David Baillie
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hmmm not sure that one has  primary air control. This one looks interesting. it looks like a knock off of a small Drolet which heated 1200 sq ft in Ontario for 5 years before I got my pacific energy. I see the air intake lever right there.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200316555_200316555

Now you get what you pay for of course. It won't compare to a Jotul, pacific energy or Napoleon... But it will jump you forward a few centuries...


 
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What if you built a combustion-proof masonry enclosure around it, fit to the opening of the existing stove, and then fill the intervening space with sand? Granted, you'd only be able to do that if it's already properly supported, but hell, you could make a durock box, tile the outside, and fill with sand. It won't be an RMH, but it will perform and hold heat much better.

-CK
 
Travis Johnson
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No need...

On my cheap Vogelzang Pot bellied stove that I made air-tight for $60, I made it have some mass by just putting rock around it in a semi-circle. I was on a concrete slab so weight was not an issue, but if a stove is loaded with sand it will have the same issue. As long as the supports under the cabin are good enough, it is a cheap way to make a stove have some mass, and heat retention well into the night.

Here is a picture of that stove set-up.

Efficiency need not be complicated or expensive.

Edited to say: I was in the midst of a major house renovation so please do not judge my home too harshly! (LOL)
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Travis Halverson
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David Baillie wrote:it will jump you forward a few centuries...



Haha!

Thanks.
 
Travis Halverson
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Travis Johnson wrote:As long as the supports under the cabin are good enough



The supports under my home are terrible.  It’s the main reason I’ve not yet built a RMH for so many years. Ernie and Erica mention a possible solution to my problem in their book though. I hope to address that next summer.

Your set up looks very nice to me.
 
Travis Halverson
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David Baillie wrote:hmmm not sure that one has  primary air control. This one looks interesting. it looks like a knock off of a small Drolet which heated 1200 sq ft in Ontario for 5 years before I got my pacific energy. I see the air intake lever right there.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200316555_200316555

Now you get what you pay for of course. It won't compare to a Jotul, pacific energy or Napoleon... But it will jump you forward a few centuries...




First night using the new stove. It seems to work better than the old box stove already. I got it lit right away but need to learn to use it better. Opened the door to add a couple additional logs and smoke billowed out. Probably should wait until previous batch is burned to coals?
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Mine billows smoke if I have a bathroom vent or range vent running.  Or if it's warmish and humid outside.  Or if I open the door too quickly.  So I'd start by easing the door open.  If your house is "tight", making sure fans aren't running will help keep the smoke going the right direction.  Or cracking a window when opening the door...
 
Travis Halverson
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Mike Jay Haasl wrote:Mine billows smoke if I have a bathroom vent or range vent running.



Thank you. That probably was it.  I had a window cracked and two vent fans running to exhaust some of the new paint smell, or whatever that smell was.
 
David Baillie
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Yes crack a window, turn the air all the way up on the stove, wait 30 seconds and then open the door. glad to hear the results are positive.
 
Travis Halverson
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This stove seems to burn well when finally lit, but is difficult to get fire going, then smokes back into house when I slowly open door to attempt to relight.  

I have burned wood as primary heat for four winters, so I am not brand new to settin’ fires.  I have two, 90 degree bends in the stovepipe, which falls within the stove manufacturers specs.  I may reposition stove in order to remove those bends.  It will get the stove closer to my wall though, but I do have cement board with 1” airgap attached to that wall.

This will only be used one winter until I build a RMH next summer.
 
Travis Johnson
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Travis Halverson wrote:This stove seems to burn well when finally lit, but is difficult to get fire going, then smokes back into house when I slowly open door to attempt to relight.  

I have burned wood as primary heat for four winters, so I am not brand new to settin’ fires.  I have two, 90 degree bends in the stovepipe, which falls within the stove manufacturers specs.  I may reposition stove in order to remove those bends.  It will get the stove closer to my wall though, but I do have cement board with 1” airgap attached to that wall.

This will only be used one winter until I build a RMH next summer.



That is strange.

If you were new at burning wood I would say your draft is poor, but it seems you would know that if it was.

Getting rid of the 90 degree bends will help of course, but what has the weather been like? If it is damp and rainy, then it will struggle for draft, but then again I am sure you knew that as well.

I wonder if the baffles in it are preventing draft somehow? I assume it is a Cat Stove?
 
Travis Halverson
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Travis Johnson wrote:
I wonder if the baffles in it are preventing draft somehow? I assume it is a Cat Stove?



Specs say non-cat. I do not know much about these new stoves.  The weather has been damp, a little snowy.  I am brand new to paying attention to weather pressures as my old, EPA unapproved, box stove lit easy all the time.

I may just have a learning curve ahead of me.
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Mike Haasl
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Has the chimney been swept lately?  Wondering if there could be an obstruction or nest...

I'm also in Northern Wisconsin and it hasn't been wet and warm enough to make my stove struggle.  Weather seems to be the biggest issue when it's drizzling and 40 degrees out.  Of course, we have different stoves and chimneys.

How tall is your chimney?  If you're worried about moving the stove too close to the wall, could you swap out the 90s for 45s?  That should help the draft and maybe let you leave the stove far enough away from the wall.
 
Travis Halverson
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Mike Jay Haasl wrote:Has the chimney been swept lately?  Wondering if there could be an obstruction or nest...

I'm also in Northern Wisconsin and it hasn't been wet and warm enough to make my stove struggle.  Weather seems to be the biggest issue when it's drizzling and 40 degrees out.  Of course, we have different stoves and chimneys.

How tall is your chimney?  If you're worried about moving the stove too close to the wall, could you swap out the 90s for 45s?  That should help the draft and maybe let you leave the stove far enough away from the wall.



I swept chimney a few weeks ago.

Just got home, I removed 90s and visually inspected up the pipe to chimney - looks good. Also lit a twist of paper under disconnected chimney pipe - great draft.

Inspected in top of the stove.  Noticed the insulation seemed out of place. Repositioned it.  Reconnected stovepipe with 90s included.  Stove works great now. No smoke back when door open.
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Insulation shifted towards air opening, blocking airflow
 
Mike Haasl
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Awesome, I hope it works well from now on!  Or at least until next year and the RMH...
 
Travis Halverson
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Mike Jay Haasl wrote:Awesome, I hope it works well from now on!  Or at least until next year and the RMH...



Thank you!
 
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